- Episode 6 (of 8), ‘Chapter 14: The Tragedy’
- Written by Jon Favreau
- Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 follow.
The Razor Crest is approaching Tython, where the Mandalorian expects to find a temple strong with the Force. Grogu is playing with the spherical silver lever topper he loves so much.
“Grogu,” says Mando, and the kid responds. Mando laughs, and asks the child to give him the ball so he can use his Force powers to retrieve it. He tells Grogu he’s very special and that they’re going to find a place where he belongs, before adding that the kid has to agree to go with the Jedi if they want him to. After all, Mando can’t train Grogu – he’s too powerful.
The ship enters Tython’s atmosphere, and Mando spots the temple. It’s on top of a hill too small to land on. “Looks like we’re gonna have to travel the last stretch with the windows down,” says Mando, and they fly down to the surface by jetpack.
The temple is a stone circle with a round rock covered in runes at its centre. Mando sits Grogu on this “seeing stone” and waits for something to happen. Grogu is more interested in a butterfly flapping around him.
Another ship flies into the atmosphere and lands nearby – it’s Slave I, Boba Fett’s characteristic transport. Mando tells Grogu that it’s time to go, but the child is suddenly surrounded by a blue force field, and he enters a meditative state. The Mandalorian tries to grab the kid but he’s repelled by the force field.
Mando looks down at Slave I and sees a figure leaving the ship. He tells Grogu he’s going to try to buy them some time – but he really should hurry up.
Mando dodges some blaster fire and hides behind a rock. The hooded figure tells Mando he’s been tracking him. Mando asks if he’s a Jedi, or if he’s after the child. The stranger removes his hood, revealing himself to be the mysterious man who spied on Mando after he’d eliminated the krayt dragon on Tatooine. He says he’s there for the armor. Mando says that if he wants his armor, he’ll have to peel it off his dead body. “I don’t want your armor,” says the stranger. “I want my armor, that you got from Cobb Vanth back on Tatooine. It belongs to me.”
Mando asks if he’s Mandalorian and if he took the Creed. The stranger says he gives his allegiance to no one. Mando tells him the beskar belongs to the Mandalorians, but the stranger says it was his father’s and now it’s his.
“What’s to stop me from dropping you right where you stand?” asks Mando.
“Because I have a sharpshooter up on that ridge,” replies the stranger. The threat doesn’t worry the Mandalorian, however – his beskar will repel the laser fire and he’ll take down the shooter as soon as he sees a muzzle flash. The stranger says the sharpshooter isn’t aiming at Mando – she’s locked onto “that little companion of yours up on the henge”.
“And if you don’t remember, I don’t miss,” says the sniper. Mando recognizes the voice. It’s Fennec Shand, the bounty hunter he apprehended on Tatooine. The Mandalorian says that if she doesn’t point her weapon away from Grogu, he’ll drop them both. The stranger suggests putting down their weapons and having a little chat. They agree to put down their guns if Mando puts down his jetpack. Everyone stands down.
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- The Book of Boba Fett
“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost,” says Fennec. Mando says he thought she was dead, and the stranger confirms she was left for dead on Tatooine: “As was I. But fate sometimes steps in to rescue the wretched.”
“In my case, Boba Fett was that fate,” says Fennec, revealing that her body is now part-cybernetic. She says she’s now in Fett’s service.
Boba Fett once again demands the return of his armor. He says it was given to his father, Jango, by Mando’s forebears. In exchange, he guarantees the safety of the child, as well as Mando’s. Fennec adds that the bounty on Grogu’s head has grown significantly – worth at least 10 suits of armor.
Another ship approaches and lands next to the Razor Crest. Mando runs back to the temple where Grogu is still surrounded by the forcefield. Mando tries again to pick him up but is again thrown away, and knocked unconscious.
Fett and Fennec train their weapons on the lander as Stormtroopers emerge. The Stormtroopers attempt to flank them, but Boba Fett is ready and batters the troopers with his melee weapon.
More Stormtroopers emerge from the ship, bringing out heavier ordnance including a grenade launcher and a laser cannon. Fennec runs across a ridge looking for cover and eventually cowers behind a rock. The Stormtroopers’ fire has loosened it, and she manages to push it down the hill. As it rolls, it crushes several troopers, including the one operating the laser cannon. Fett kills a few more troopers and eyes up the open door of the Razor Crest.
Most of the troopers are now out of action, but another transport lands, bringing more soldiers into the fight. Mando wakes up and reminds the kid it’s time to get out of there. Another attempt to pull Grogu out of the forcefield fails, so Mando tells him he’s going to protect him. As Mando leaves the hill, the forcefield disappears, Grogu leaves his trance and falls asleep, exhausted.
Fennec is surrounded and does what she can to fend off the troopers. “We don’t want you,” they say. “We want the child.”
Mando appears and uses his whistling birds to take down the closest troopers. They keep coming, however, and Mando tells Fennec she can go because he owes her from last time. She responds that they have a deal, so won’t be going anywhere.
A thermal detonator lands on the battlefield, killing some of the troopers. Boba Fett lands, now wearing his familiar armor. He kills most of the troopers and the remaining forces return to the transports, which take off. Boba Fett aims his rocket at one of the ships and it crashes into the other, taking them both out of the sky.
Blaster fire comes from orbit. It destroys the Razor Crest, leaving nothing behind. Fennec tells Boba Fett to get to his ship and he jets away. The Mandalorian sees the Imperial cruiser in orbit. He runs towards the temple to save Grogu.
On the Imperial cruiser, Moff Gideon asks if the Dark Troopers have been engaged. Four black-suited figures jet towards the planet’s surface, and land at the temple. They surround Grogu and one of them picks him up. They take off before Mando can get there.
Slave I is airborne and Fennec tells Fett they have the baby. Fett pursues, but Mando says not to attack because they can’t risk harming Grogu. Fett follows the Dark Troopers to see where they’re headed and sees the Imperial cruiser close up. Fett is surprised to see that the Empire has returned. Fennec says that can’t be because the Outer Rim is under the jurisdiction of the New Republic, but Fett says he can see it with his own eyes. Fett returns to the surface as Gideon’s cruiser jumps into hyperspace.
Mando examines the wreckage of the Razor Crest and finds the spherical lever topper and the beskar spear he recovered from Corvus. Fett shows him the chain code that’s been encoded into his armor for 25 years, confirming it belongs to him. It also shows that his father, Jango, was a foundling – Boba adds that Jango fought in the Mandalorian Civil Wars.
Mando says their deal is now complete, but Boba argues that it isn’t. He says that they said they would ensure the safety of the child, meaning they are in Mando’s debt until Grogu is returned safely.
Slave I lands on Nevarro. Mando meets Cara Dune, who’s now a Marshal of the New Republic. He asks for her help locating someone in the prison registry – an ex-Imperial sharpshooter named Mayfeld, who was apprehended near the Dilestri system on a derelict prison ship. She finds him – he’s serving 50 years in the Karthon Chop Fields for springing a prisoner. Mando says he needs to spring him to help him locate Moff Gideon’s cruiser.
Cara Dune says that, despite her feelings about the Empire, her New Republic gig means she needs to follow certain rules. Mando tells her they have the kid.
Back on Gideon’s ship, the Moff pays a visit on Grogu. The child is throwing a pair of Stormtroopers around his cell with the Force. As another trooper moves to stun him, Gideon holds him back, grinning. “You’ve gotten very good with that. But it makes you oh-so sleepy,” he says. He activates the darksaber, asking if Grogu has seen one of these before. “You’re not ready to play with such things. Liable to put an eye out with one of these.” He says the child could use a nice long sleep, as a trooper moves in to stun him.
Gideon orders an officer to send an encrypted message to Dr Pershing when they come out of hyperspace, telling him they have their donor. Grogu sleeps alone in the cell in shackles.
Calling this episode ‘The Tragedy’ is no understatement. Not only has the Razor Crest been unceremoniously destroyed, the Empire has finally got its hands on Grogu. Plunging the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda into their ultimate nightmare scenario is clearly the right thing for the drama, but it’s emotionally brutal – even more so when you realise the force field around Grogu deactivated mere seconds after Mando left to fight off Stormtroopers. Fate can be cruel sometimes…
Even before that shocker of an ending, this is one of The Mandalorian’s best episodes. The return of Boba Fett is perfectly played, with Temuera Morrison portraying him as a man of honor who just wants his suit back. Fett says significantly more words here than he did in the whole of the original trilogy, and the character is much more rounded as a result – enough, in fact, to make you see him in a whole new light. He’ll be a useful ally for Mando as they attempt to recover Grogu – especially with the still-alive Fennec Shand (her return is a welcome surprise) along for the ride.
The battle on the surface of Tython is also brilliantly choreographed. It’s hard to recall a time Stormtroopers have ever felt this threatening – okay, they’re ultimately no match for Mando, Fennec and Boba Fett’s knee gun, but they actually fight like elite troops for once.
With the start of the episode having emphasized Mando and Grogu’s father/son bond, it’s no surprise that he’s an angry kid when he’s incarcerated on Gideon’s ship. Indeed, there’s definite hints of the Dark Side when he’s smashing those Stormtroopers around.
The question is, did he make contact with any Jedi when he was in his trance on the rock? And what the hell happened to Mando’s jetpack after he took it off?
Force the facts
- Aside from his brief cameo in ‘The Marshal’, this is the first time we’ve seen a grown-up Boba Fett on screen since he tumbled into the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi. He’s played by Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones, and voiced Boba in recent versions of the original trilogy.
- Slave I was the ship Boba Fett used to transport a carbon-frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt in The Empire Strikes Back. Its design was inspired by a radar dish – not, as was long rumoured, by a street lamp.
- Fennec Shand (played by Ming-Na Wen) first appeared in season one episode ‘The Gunslinger’, where she was left for dead on Tatooine by the Mandalorian. The characteristic clinking spurs of the figure who found her led many to speculate her saviour was Boba Fett. Turns out they were right.
- When Boba Fett says, “I’m a simple man making his way through the galaxy,” it’s an echo of a line spoken by Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. “I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe,” he told Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- This episode enshrines the source of the Fetts’ Mandalorian armor in canon – Jango was a foundling (like Mando) and subsequently fought in the Mandalorian Civil War.
- There’s a fun nod to The Magnificent Seven. When Mando compliments Boba Fett’s aim after he takes down one of the Imperial transports, Fett counters that he was aiming for the other one. In the classic Western, James Coburn’s character, Britt, shoots a man from impressively long range. But when told it’s the greatest shot his companion has ever seen, he replies: “The worst! I was aiming at the horse.”
- The Dark Troopers that capture Grogu are advanced battle droids. Although The Mandalorian marks their first in-canon appearance, they’ve previously featured in numerous videogames, including classic FPS Dark Forces. The episode’s writer and The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau also directed the first two Iron Man movies – the Dark Troopers’ design shares many similarities with Tony Stark’s famous suit.
- Mayfeld, the convict Mando asks Cara Dune to look up, appeared in season one episode ‘The Prisoner’, where he was part of Mando’s crew on a prison break.
- The episode is directed by Robert Rodriguez, whose filmography includes Sin City, Desperado, Alita: Battle Angel and many more.
New episodes of The Mandalorian are available to stream on Disney Plus every Friday.
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Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.